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PATCH OF SKY

Notable for bringing easy STEM concepts to interesting, inventive life for very young readers.

“Looking up” takes on a whole new meaning.

Pia, a yellow-skinned, blue-haired girl, has a best friend—Patches, a pig from whom she’s inseparable. Apart from Patches, Pia’s favorite thing is the sky. Unfortunately, her father explains that the anatomy of pigs’ necks is such that pigs can’t look up. Pia is desolate because, she tells Patches, the sky isn’t only wonderful, it also reflects emotions, and she’s determined that her bestie should see it. She devises several ingenious stratagems to solve the dilemma, including rolling Patches onto his back and pushing him up a hill; sadly, each attempt ends in disappointment. However, Pia’s chance glimpse at a clear rain puddle gives her one final idea—and voila! By peering down into the puddle, Patches finally beholds the sky. This endearing, lighthearted tale rests on an easy science concept, though some kids might not get it, even as depicted; adult explanations may be needed. The tale makes a fine springboard for imaginative thinking and art activities focused on helping pigs look upward. The colorful, lively, expressive illustrations, set mostly in square or rectangular panels, are appealing; readers will also appreciate the text, often set in colored type and including onomatopoeic sound words used to very dynamic effect. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Notable for bringing easy STEM concepts to interesting, inventive life for very young readers. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: July 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35384-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: April 12, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2022

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ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...

Rabe follows a young girl through her first 12 days of kindergarten in this book based on the familiar Christmas carol.

The typical firsts of school are here: riding the bus, making friends, sliding on the playground slide, counting, sorting shapes, laughing at lunch, painting, singing, reading, running, jumping rope, and going on a field trip. While the days are given ordinal numbers, the song skips the cardinal numbers in the verses, and the rhythm is sometimes off: “On the second day of kindergarten / I thought it was so cool / making lots of friends / and riding the bus to my school!” The narrator is a white brunette who wears either a tunic or a dress each day, making her pretty easy to differentiate from her classmates, a nice mix in terms of race; two students even sport glasses. The children in the ink, paint, and collage digital spreads show a variety of emotions, but most are happy to be at school, and the surroundings will be familiar to those who have made an orientation visit to their own schools.

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003), it basically gets the job done. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234834-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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THE WONKY DONKEY

Hee haw.

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The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 28, 2018

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